The Burgess Boys

The Burgess Boys Elizabeth Strout animates the ordinary with an astonishing force wrote The New Yorker on the publication of her Pulitzer Prize winning Olive Kitteridge The San Francisco Chronicle praised Strout s ma

Elizabeth Strout animates the ordinary with an astonishing force, wrote The New Yorker on the publication of her Pulitzer Prize winning Olive Kitteridge The San Francisco Chronicle praised Strout s magnificent gift for humanizing characters Now the acclaimed author returns with a stunning novel as powerful and moving as any work in contemporary literature.Haunted byElizabeth Strout animates the ordinary with an astonishing force, wrote The New Yorker on the publication of her Pulitzer Prize winning Olive Kitteridge The San Francisco Chronicle praised Strout s magnificent gift for humanizing characters Now the acclaimed author returns with a stunning novel as powerful and moving as any work in contemporary literature.Haunted by the freak accident that killed their father when they were children, Jim and Bob Burgess escaped from their Maine hometown of Shirley Falls for New York City as soon as they possibly could Jim, a sleek, successful corporate lawyer, has belittled his bighearted brother their whole lives, and Bob, a Legal Aid attorney who idolizes Jim, has always taken it in stride But their long standing dynamic is upended when their sister, Susan the Burgess sibling who stayed behind urgently calls them home Her lonely teenage son, Zach, has gotten himself into a world of trouble, and Susan desperately needs their help And so the Burgess brothers return to the landscape of their childhood, where the long buried tensions that have shaped and shadowed their relationship begin to surface in unexpected ways that will change them forever With a rare combination of brilliant storytelling, exquisite prose, and remarkable insight into character, Elizabeth Strout has brought to life two deeply human protagonists whose struggles and triumphs will resonate with readers long

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The Burgess Boys

  1. Elizabeth Strout is the author of several novels, including Abide with Me, a national bestseller and BookSense pick, and Amy and Isabelle, which won the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction and the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize, and was a finalist for the PEN Faulkner Award and the Orange Prize in England In 2009 she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for her book Olive Kitteridge Her short stories have been published in a number of magazines, including The New Yorker She teaches at the Master of Fine Arts program at Queens University of Charlotte.

419 Reply to “The Burgess Boys”

  1. This novel was one of the most really really really OK books I have ever read It was so OK that I will forget about it after I am done writing this.Since the author of this book won a Pulitzer, I had higher expectations In addition to the fact that the writing style was very cold and detached, the topic seemed derived and predictable It was partly a story of family dynamics and the ties that bind , but I found it very hard to care about the family The characters in the family were lackluster and [...]


  2. Elizabeth Strout has written another novel about Maine and its people, but unlike Olive Kittredge, which is episodic, The Burgess Boys is a tightly woven novel about a family, its secrets, and how the guilt of one brother has defined his life, as well as that of his twin sister, their older brother, their spouses, and their children It also traces downward spirals some expected, some not and the possibility and limits of change and redemption Shirley Falls, Maine, home to many displaced Somalis [...]


  3. This novel poses a major question do you understand that other guy, that other woman Are you sure The book hit me between the eyes with the uncomfortable notion that we are imprisoned by our culture yes our beloved Thanksgivings and Christmases, our Midnight Masses, our Fourths of July, our sacred Yankees or Red Sox It s all wonderful even as it blinds us.For me, the book is all about understanding that other guy Hell, the Burgesses are family and they struggle with the issue among themselves Th [...]


  4. cue the music to the Brady Bunch theme songHere s the story,Of a lonely lady,Who was bringing up her very lonely son.He threw a pig s head in church,Just for the heck of it,Then he was on the run.Here s the story,Of the lady s brothers,Who were scheming, competing, cheating on their own.They were two men,Telling lies together, but they were soon both alone.Till the one day when the truth came to the surface,and they knew that these were much than ploys.That this group,Was really quite dysfuncti [...]


  5. i am one of those people who went all gaga about Olive Kitteridge, which i thought did a magnificent, magic job at showing how someone who is by all accounts quite petty and unpleasant is also tremendously, tenderly, wonderfully human this book is ambitious in scope unlike OK, it encompasses a couple of cities, a couple of states, and a number of communities i am not saying that OK is not ambitious its spelunking into the humanity of a not very likeable woman is spectacular and daring it s just [...]


  6. The Hook Is having a grandson with the last name of Burgess enough reason to read a book I guess it is as that was my motivation.The Line And she learned freshly, scorchingly of the privacy of sorrow The Sinker The Burgess Boys was a surprise really liked it I m not certain what I was expecting but I definitely got When a teenager, Zach throws a pig s head into a Somali Mosque during Ramadan, it sets a series of events in motion as you well can imagine Zach s arrest brings two New York brothers [...]


  7. Onvan The Burgess Boys Nevisande Elizabeth Strout ISBN 1400067685 ISBN13 9781400067688 Dar 320 Safhe Saal e Chap 2013


  8. I well remember the controversy in Lewiston, ME in 2006 when a pig s head was thrown into a Somali Muslim mosque It s one of the key events in The Burgess Boys, Strout s latest novel I loved Olive Kittredge I almost loved The BBs.Strout again interweaves stories and socio political issues I ve lived in Maine for 46 years and yet still am labeled from away And this novel is largely about being away from self, family, meaningful work, marriage, children, siblings, immigrants, tradition and change. [...]


  9. PUTTING OUT THE FIRE WITH HONEYChe cosa far , Bob Non ho pi una famiglia.S che ce l hai, rispose Bob Hai una moglie che ti odia Tre figli che ce l hanno a morte con te Un fratello e una sorella che ti fanno impazzire E un nipote che una volta era una nullit , ma a quanto pare ultimamente lo un po meno Questo ci che si definisce una famiglia.Innegabile la vena ironica di Bob, e quindi, della Strout ma entrambi credono davvero in questa asserzione, e io mi dissocio.Foto di Wim Wenders.D altra part [...]


  10. A solid four star read You may have to persevere at the beginning, because just about every one of the main characters may make you want to smack him her about the head and face repeatedly I loved Olive Kitteridge, so I stayed with it If not for Olive, I may not have I m glad I did The big story here is all of the familial relationships Husband wife, parent child, sibling sibling There are some messed up family dynamics here, but all of the characters showed considerable growth throughout, which [...]


  11. A few years ago I was looking to supplement non fiction readers about the French and Somali communities in an intro to college College and Community class with a short fiction read about the region or state I d used Sex, Drugs Blueberries the year before, but it was sad and I agreed it was for looking for hope students to see that nothing bad ended or good came of it a life lesson, itself in Crash Berry s dismal presentation of the lives of some young adults in Northern Maine Meth and heroin are [...]


  12. I m really conflicted on this one I love Elizabeth Strout, I love her writing style and the way she gets in to her character s heads I did not love this book I wanted to, but I just disliked the characters, and I didn t always understand them or their motivations I would still recommend it to fans of hers, but I was disappointed by it.


  13. I loved Olive Kitteridge, but I did not love this book Both characters and story lines were poorly developed I started out liking this novel I thought the story with Zak throwing the pig s head into the mosque had great potential But, it went nowhere Why didn t Ms Strout develop Zak s character Why did we never really know WHY he did that Why did she make him so stupidI mean, really, who in this day and age does not know that pigs might be offensive to Muslims I never felt like we got to know a [...]


  14. I received an advanced copy of this book in a Goodread giveaway.I m conflicted about this book I wanted to love it as I have read and loved Amy and Isabelle and Olive Kittridge But it seemed like something was missing It took me a long time to get into The Burgess Boys and to care about Jim, Bob, and Susan Jim is an arrogant corporate lawyer with a sense of entitlement the size of New York He treats his younger brother with complete disdain Bob, who is insecure and awkward, idolizes Jim and want [...]


  15. It would be difficult to top Olive Kitteredge, and indeed this novel did not While the writing itself is lovely, I had three real problems with The Burgess Boys that made it hard for me to love 1 the incident at the heart of the novel a teenage boy throws a pig s head into a Somali mosque in small town Maine is really just an excuse to look at the relationships between the people in that boy s family his mother and two uncles, the Boys of the title In one way, that s OK the book is called the Bu [...]


  16. Take a dysfunctional family, raised in a small town in Maine by a mother who liked to yell quite a bit, and who raised some unlikable children, and one would usually have a novel no one would want to read In Strout s daft hands, however, she is able to peel away the layers and make the reader want to take a second look She gives us something, a reason maybe, and allows us to look deep inside these people and find what it is that makes them so unlikable Once she accomplishes that, the reader is r [...]


  17. Maine CharactersI loved Strout s Olive Kitteridge so I was hoping for the same positive experience with The Burgess Boys I wasn t disappointed Strout is excellent at creating down to earth relatable characters and Bob and Jim Burgess and their sister Sue are not exceptions Bobby is an appeals lawyer handling cases outside the courtroom Jim is a high profile lawyer who won fame in his early career by successfully defending an infamous client Sue is a single mother of a troubled son What they all [...]


  18. In keeping with my new rules , if it doesn t appeal move on to something that does I was interested in the beginning, but that passed very quickly and when the Somali issue arose I began to feel it was just too much like watching the news which I promise I get enough of I may not have given this a fair chance, but that is OK, I have limited time and I need to find those books that speak to me.I have another Strout on my shelf and will give that one a go soon I did like the two of her books that [...]


  19. Elizabeth Strout has yet again shown why she is such an accomplished writer, though I think she is really a grand storyteller The Burgess Boys gives us some sad and unlikable characters and pulls us into their story For better or worse, we want to see how they turn out Her stories aren t full of suspense, twist and turns, hot romance or action packed They are the stories of real people living real lives The boys are as different as night and day, and the memories and roles that have shaped their [...]


  20. 3 1 2 StarsThe Burgess Boys revolves around the lives of 3 siblings and their families Elizabeth Strout is a talented writer and she gives her characters such life that you can feel it coming off the pages This is only my second book of hers I ve read but I felt that in her other book as well My Name is Lucy Barton However, The Burgess Boys did not have as strong of an impact on me The storyline just didn t grab a hold of me as much and it seemed a little anticlimactic I took some stars away for [...]


  21. What a wonderful characterization story Driven by the sibling relationship of the Burgess family, the bond is tested and stretched to its breaking point Jim and Bob Burgess, both working in the law ring, have the natural brotherly bond Bob has always looked up to Jim Jim is the All Around American All Star brother Always doing, and saying the right things, and made famous by a renown court case Lovable Bob, ruined by a childhood accident, just tries to bumble along, the real glue of the Burgess [...]


  22. After Amy and Isabelle, Abide with Me and the Pulitzer Prize winning Olive Kitteridge, no one should be surprised by the poignancy and emotional vigor of Elizabeth Strout s new novel But the broad social and political range of The Burgess Boys shows just how impressively this extraordinary writer continues to develop In these pages, Strout untangles a moldy knot of filial tensions in one family while tracing the prejudices that continue to reverberate through American culture since Sept 11.The a [...]


  23. I ve never been to Maine What I knew of it was shaped by a Doris Day movie from the 1950 s about a plucky widow whose lobster business is almost ruined by a greedy railroad Titan, and by watching the Bush Presidents cavorting with their kinfolk in Kennebunkport So until I started reading the novels of Elizabeth Strout, the Maine I knew was a seaside play land for WASP aristocrats and the people who fed them their lobster Her debut novel Amy and Isabelle explores the tensions between a working cl [...]


  24. This book is a hard one for me to review, and I am waffling between three and four stars Here s the problem I hate all the characters in this book But I think the author intends for all of them to be equally flawed and unlikable, it helps to tell the story, but just the same, there was not a single character I was rooting for or hoping they would succeed and grow The characters that would be most likely to receive that kind of connection were on the periphery Zach, the troubled child who ends up [...]


  25. Le correzioni Credi sempre che i tuoi figli saranno uguali a quelli del catalogo di Sears Ma non lo sono Integrazione, famiglia, razzismo, famiglia, terrorismo, famiglia, post 11 settembre, famiglia, Iraq, famiglia, Lehman Brothers, famiglia, Maine, famiglia, New York, famiglia disfunzionale.Ma com che questa Strout mi sembra tanto Franzen con la sua abitudine a mescolare tutto in un minestrone cosmico Sono dovuta arrivare a poco meno di centocinquanta pagine dalla fine, a fronte delle quasi qua [...]


  26. This review will contain some cursing Consider yourself warned, because I don t think I can hold back on this one I did not read Olive Kitteridge because it never sounded interesting to me, but I do recall than one customer at the bookstore telling me that they didn t enjoy the book because the characters were so, so grossly unlikable This is my first Elizabeth Strout but I m noticing a trend This book is ostensibly about the Burgess siblings big brother Jim and twins Bob and Susan and the ling [...]


  27. At first, I thought this book was somewhat, for lack of a better word, dull I had just come from readingAnd The Mountains Echoed which was about family and surely Ms Strout s novel covering family as well had very stiff competition While I thought the second half of the book was engrossing and generally better written, it just could not seem to make up for the first half.There is no doubt that Ms Strout has in this novel established characters that are very clear in their wants, needs, and desi [...]


  28. This is a subtle and layered story about a middle class dysfunctional family Yes, I know Another one Maybe you ve had your fill of novels about how American families disintegrate for the year, but I must insist you read this one if you are a literary reader It s different I promise.I admit to a certain strong cynicism I beat down within myself whenever picking up a suburban green lawn, 2.3 kid, two car mid life sandwich family story or a book which turns out to be a small town whine about growin [...]


  29. I won this book as part of Goodread s first reads program.This was my first Strout novel I know she won a Pulitzer for Olive Kitteridge, so I was expecting a well written, engaging novel I was left lacking on both fronts.I didn t care for any of the characters I understand flawed characters make for the best subjects, but there has to be something redeeming about them to make me invested in their lives I didn t find anything I liked about the characters until so late in the novel that I was almo [...]


  30. It took me a very long time to really get into this book Honestly, if it weren t Elizabeth Strout, I would have given up after 100 pages, when I still didn t care about the characters and felt the story was going nowhere But I love Olive Kitteridgeso much that I was confident the investment would pay off.And, in the end, it did At about 150 pages, everything clicked and I found the second half of the book hard to put down.I still can t tell you I loved the characters or the story, but I love how [...]


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